LGBT issues in Canadian federal election campaign?

The Canadian Parliament Buildings on Ottawa, where Conservatives in the House and the Senate have repeatedly voted against federal transgender bills. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The Canadian Parliament Buildings on Ottawa, where Conservatives in the House and the Senate have repeatedly voted against federal trans rights bills. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

By Jillian Page
LGBT Perspectives editor

QUEBEC — I’ve been asked recently by two American writers about the impact of LGBT issues on the current federal election campaign in Canada. One of them, from an LGBT think tank of some sort, asked me how many openly gay candidates are running for office, and provided me with a list of openly gay candidates in Canada — most of whom I didn’t even know were gay. “Are there any more that you know of,” the writer asked me.

I was offended by the list. I felt the individuals on it had been betrayed. How many other people received a similar email from the think tank?

I explained to both individuals who had contacted me that Canadians generally don’t give a damn about an MP’s (Member of Parliament) sexual orientation. The media hardly ever mention the sexual orientation of politicians unless it is absolutely relevant. And even when the media know of a politician who lives in an openly same-sex relationship but hasn’t officially outed himself, we would not out him.

In short, sexual orientation has mostly become a non-issue — read: yawn — in Canada since same-sex marriage was legalized. At least, it has become as much of a non-issue as heterosexual marriage is. And that’s just the way it should be. It’s what LGBT people have striven for over the years. Ho-hum  . . .

As for the impact of LGBT issues in this campaign, I can only think of one issue that might be on the minds of some voters, particularly transgender people and their supporters, and it is not being discussed by the federal candidates thus far (to the best of my knowledge): the stalling death of trans rights bill C-279 in the Conservative-dominated Senate. Suffice to say, the Conservative Party of Canada can’t count on the transgender vote.

But aside from that, there are no LGBT issues in this federal election campaign, and that’s a good thing. It’s a sign of the progress we have made in this country, even with a Conservative government.

Personally, I wouldn’t vote for the Conservatives because of what they did to trans people in the Senate, even though the passage or non-passage of Bill C-279 has no direct effect on my life. I support transgender people who would have been protected by the passage of the bill, and who now do not have the federal protection they need.


“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey


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